The rain has been pouring all week in Krakow, and it couldn't be a better time to head for the beach coast of Gdansk as the Republic of Ireland prepare to prove the critics wrong and show up tournament favourites Spain (I still have hope!).

Krakow has certainly been well worth the trip, even if there was no live football, simply because I got a great insight into the English football fan's psyche. One of the things I couldn't work out was why so many England fans were in and around the quaint city, despite not having any football matches there. Speaking to an Englishman at our new local, the Bull Pub, he explained that a lot of fans had booked their flights as soon as England announced they'd be training in Krakow. It seems the supporters were just as quick to jump on the Krakow train before knowing where they were playing.

With that in mind, Krakow provided a great atmosphere for the England v France game, and afterwards the fans were particularly happy with the result. Reading some pundits' analysis of England's chances in the tournament has been amusing to say the least; many have predicted the likes of a semi final, or at least a quarter final appearance.

But fans are much more realistic about their hopes for this tournament. "We're a young side, we've not got the experience to compete with the big boys, anything we achieve is a plus," one fan told me.

Something I've learnt about the England fans through being at multiple World Cups and Euro tournaments is that they love to get involved with the host nation. While the Ukraine is obviously a competitor for the Three Lions, Poland present an underdog who the fans can currently relate to considering the position that England have found themselves in.

England fan
England fans are like no other.

And as a result, the atmosphere around Krakow's centre was as much about the England fans getting into the spirit for Poland v Russia as the Poland fans.

So much so, that a group of Sunderland fans in the Bull Pub got busy getting in the faces of some Toon supporters just before kick off. While one Newcastle boy had taken it upon himself to dish out some 5-1 banter, one of the travelling Mackems, with the nickname on his t-shirt 'kitty cutter', wasn't too happy about it all. "There's a difference between being funny and being clever," he insisted, with his friends trying to calm him down.

But by half an hour into play both sides had been reminded of who they were supporting for now at least, and the Sunderland boys were too busy booing every time the Russians came on the TV screen to care that the Newcastle fans had joined them after all that.

An equaliser from Jakub Blaszczykowski took Poland's spirits to an all-time high, and considering Russia are favourites to come out of the group on top, a draw was more than enough to get everyone outside and signing in the rain.

Poland fans
Poland fans in the city centre after their draw.

As appears to be tradition for the Polish supporters, climbing buildings and monuments to sing from was common, along with swimming in the fountains. And right at the top of the statue in the main square, stood a young boy in an England jumper, miming words that he clearly couldn't understand and looking very likely to fall down at any moment.

So strangely enough, as I leave Krakow for Gdansk on a 10 hour bus, it's the England fans I'll miss the most. But I'm told the Ireland fans have been the best in the tournament, and being from the land of the underdog myself (ie Australia), I'm looking forward to seeing how they go against their British rivals.